Executive Magazine - - Executive Life -

Cham­pagne to­day is more ac­ces­si­ble than it was in the past, but be­cause of that it no longer quite ts the “rare” cri­te­ria we so o en ex­pect of a lux­ury prod­uct, and houses are con­tin­u­ously striv­ing to o er some­thing dif­fer­ent to clients. Sat­u­rated mar­kets with the in­creased com­pe­ti­tion from pros­ecco and a grow­ing world­wide sparkling wine in­dus­try has forced cham­pagne houses to go with new mar­ket­ing strate­gies, like Lan­son be­com­ing the o icial cham­pagne of Wim­ble­don, and Moët us­ing celebrity en­dorse­ment and de­vis­ing an in­ter­na­tional “Moët Day” with world­wide events. Brand rep­re­sen­ta­tives say it’s a way to show the Moët “savoir fete,” a play on words that means they know how to party, not just make great cham­pagne. The aim is to go around the clock and show peo­ple all the ways you can en­joy Moët on di er­ent oc­ca­sions, again try­ing to dis­pel the idea that cham­pagne is just for cel­e­bra­tions.

In a no­to­ri­ously strict in­dus­try where in­no­va­tion is rare and di icult, break­ing rules is tough, but might be vi­tal. Ever the pi­o­neers, Moët & Chan­don cra ed the MCIII ex­pres­sion, an un­con­ven­tional con­cept that blends three ways of pro­duc­ing cham­pagne (in stain­less steel tanks, oak casks, and bot­tles) us­ing the best vin­tages from years span­ning 199 -200 and aged for 10 years 20 years in one bot­tle.

In­no­va­tion by in­di­vid­ual brands is good for busi­ness, but it also helps keep the whole cat­e­gory rel­e­vant, say Moët & Chan­don brand am­bas­sador Amine Ghanem and Moët-Hen­nessy Mar­ket Man­ager for North Africa and the Near East Briac Dessertenne, who vis­ited Le­banon for a se­ries of events in uly. They ex­plain that it’s their re­spon­si­bil­ity to an­tic­i­pate the fu­ture needs of clients and cur­rently those needs are per­son­al­iza­tion and ex­pe­ri­ences.


Speak­ing of ex­pe­ri­ences, Ghanem was in Le­banon to lead a Moët mas­ter­class on the MCIII. Dur­ing a visit to Beirut at the be­gin­ning of the year, Lan­son Cham­pagne’s ex­port man­ager, Em­manuel Gan­tet, held a mas­ter­class at Ashra eh’s The Malt Gallery on his brand’s range, giv­ing not only a his­tory les­son on cham­pagne in gen­eral, and on Lan­son speci cally, but also in­tro­duc­ing sev­eral spe­cial bot­tles. Vin­tage Wine Cel­lar hosts cham­pagne tast­ings a cou­ple of times a year. Beirut’s ve star Phoeni­cia Ho­tel has also held cham­pagne pair­ing din­ners, in­tro­duc­ing peo­ple to var­i­ous brands and ex­pres­sions, while en­cour­ag­ing the pair­ing of cham­pagne with ne cui­sine.

In Le­banon, cham­pagne is largely still viewed as some­thing you drink on a spe­cial oc­ca­sion, says Ri­achi. Per­haps be­cause of its lux­ury sta­tus, it can be in­tim­i­dat­ing. While the Le­banese love lux­ury in gen­eral, Ri­achi says they will o en have a ute be­fore din­ner, but later pair a bot­tle of wine with food, even though the price of cham­pagne can be the same as a good bot­tle of wine. Mean­while in Europe, it’s more com­mon to or­der cham­pagne with a meal, or drink it ca­su­ally, he says.

It might take a while for the Le­banese to start drink­ing cham­pagne ca­su­ally but maybe it’s just not in Le­banese blood to be ca­sual. If cham­pagne is seen as the drink of spe­cial oc­ca­sions, then per­haps we just need to nd more ex­cuses to cel­e­brate.

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